As most of you are well aware, the grand finale of the 2014-15 waterfowl season happened last weekend with two days of youth only hunting to finish off the season! I can’t tell you how cool it was to see how full my Facebook and Instagram news feeds were of pictures of kids out hunting! Whether they had one duck or a full strap or just pics of camo clad kids with their buddies! It was awesome to see so many kids enjoying time in the outdoors, and I want to give a giant thumbs up to all the parents, guides, club members and landowners, who took the time or provided kids with the opportunity to get out on a hunt this past weekend! Kudos to you all!
With that being said, I thought I would touch a bit on an experience we had this past weekend. My husband Casey and our son Cade had a few kids and their dads out hunting with us, CICC Outdoor Adventures, at one of our Colusa properties and one of the little guys had just recently passed his hunters certification and really does not have a lot of gun handling time under his belt, so he was definitely a little timid when it came to shooting! He actually chose to just watch instead. His dad was saying that his son was a tad bit gun shy after having had shot a high based load that had caused the gun to kick a tad bit more than the kid was expecting.
So…My take on how to deal with a gun-shy kiddo!?
Reintroduce them to shooting with a really light gun, such as a pellet or bb gun! You could even go all the way back to a nerf gun if need be and run around the house shooting as many nerf darts as you possibly can at each other! The rule in this house is anything below the shoulders is fair game! But make it fun with target shooting games or competitions and gradually step them up to shooting targets with a .22 caliber rifle and eventually shooting skeet with a .410 or light 20ga.
Another big thing is safety! Not only is proper ear and eye protection ideal for keeping your littles (an yourself) safe, but ear protection also lessens their sensitivity to the shock of the sound, which can spook them a bit!
Gun-Shy Kiddos Happen! Remember to take as much time as needed. They will eventually want to step up to the next level as long as they are not pushed and feel safe too and remember to always make it fun!